You may have noticed if you have looked on the side-bar that this is my first post in over a year. There’s a reason for that. I was trying to do something with this blog that I wasn’t in the right place to do: explore my development as a small business owner.
At the time I had started The Reverie Alone I had just put my personal business on hold. I had been in operation as a massage therapist for almost two years and was fairly successful at it. My husband and I had started talking about starting a family and I wanted something more stable, so instead of adding acupuncture to my massage practice I hit the pause button on my business and found employment.
It wasn’t the right decision. I wasn’t able to grow as the practitioner I wanted to be within someone else’s brand.
I felt embarrassed.
I felt guilty.
I felt like a fraud.
So I stopped blogging, I quit that job and got a job at a grocery store. How exciting.
Then I got pregnant. And we had a huge tax bill. And our car broke down. Everything seemed to be coming down on us at once.
Still, we pushed through it happy to have a stable income. But I was super depressed about my failure the year before and I kept talking about restarting my business one day.
The birth center we chose happened to have a medical assistant I knew. She had attended acupuncture school a year ahead of me and had spent some time establishing herself in the community.
One day she said that she was moving two hours out of the cities and would no longer be at the birth center.
The words were out of my mouth before I knew what I was saying:
“Are they looking for a new acupuncturist?”
At 33 weeks pregnant, I restarted my business. I paid my state fees for LLC registration and changed my business name to my dream name - “Reverie Acupuncture.” I started building up my social media following and settled in to restart my business right after maternity leave.
And you know what? I did it.
So The Reverie Alone is going to become what I always wanted it to be - a personal journal following my journey as a small business owner.
I’ll share the things I that worked for me and didn’t work for me starting with this post.
The posts will be more infrequent because I’m currently putting more focus on my acupuncture blog, but I’m hoping to post at least monthly updates.
So here we go:
One of the biggest lessons I learned as an independent contractor at my last gig was to never rely on the marketing of others. I was told when I signed my lease at my first gig that they were such a well known brand and they did so much marketing I wouldn’t have to worry about it. And I listened. Oh, so naive.
This time when I was told about the marketing outreach of the birth center I’m working out of, I was enthusiastically grateful. AND THEN I implemented a social media plan on both Facebook and Instagram on my own and set up a daily post schedule.
Ultimately it was their marketing that brought in my one (and only :( ) patient this month BUT my marketing which has resulted in three other potential patients. One of the things that is not working in my favor is the holidays and I’m hoping my current slow business is due to Christmas/the holiday season.
Downloadable Intake Packets
When I had my last gig, one of the biggest pain-in-the-butts was getting my paperwork out to the people who needed it. I would have to print it out and wait for them to fill it out at the clinic or email them. I am absolutely terrible at email patients.
This time I created a Mailchimp list called “patients” and merged my individual PDFs into a single PDF file. Now, patients can click a link I’ve peppered around my website to download the packet AND sign up for my newsletter list. Now I have continued contact with them after they download the paperwork to remind them I still exists. Let’s see how that works down the road.
The biggest challenge for me right now is showing up to clinic because I’m pretty pessimistic about my patient numbers. But every clinic night I show up and every night I’ve learned a better way to do it.
The chairs can go here. The computer can go here.
So even though I’m not getting any patients I’m still making myself known to the clinic staff (referrals!) and having dedicated time to work on things like blog posts, events and social media schedules.
I haven’t been open long enough to tell you what is and isn’t working so I’ll make sure to let you know what’s up at the end of January.
Thanks for sticking around and I’m looking forward to building my business with you.
Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor, lawyer or accountant. The information in this post is for general purposes only. Always check with your own accountant, lawyer, bookkeeper and/or business team before making big decisions. I am not liable for any losses or damages resulting or relating to the content in this post.
Jessica Gustafson is a licensed acupuncturist in St Paul, MN specializing in women's health and fertility. She loves working with patients through the Health Foundations Birth Center on Grand Avenue in St Paul as well as doing home visits in the Twin Cities area. Check out the community acupuncture page for more information.
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Jessica Gustafson, L.Ac.
I am an acupuncturist and a mama from the Twin Cities. I needed a place to talk about the nitty gritty of bootstrapping a clinic, parenting and freelancing so I made a blog. Hooray! It was never meant to become what it has, but blogs evolve. I've enjoyed the process and look forward to developing it more as I grow.
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